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Tweaty published on 2 Comments on Tweaty

There’s a lot about Twitter that I find annoying: Auto DMs from people when I follow them (“Thanks for the follow! And please check out my acai berry multi-level marketing site!”). Random, Inspiration Lite™ quotations, stripped of all context. People who invent rules like “you have to follow everyone who follows you.” (No, you don’t. And you don’t have to eavesdrop on an intelligence agency just because they tap your phone line – in fact, they discourage it.)

But just when I get crotchety enough to start shopping for a shawl and rocking chair, along comes what may be the one meme on Twitter that actually warms the cockles of my heart: Follow Friday.

(I’ll pause here to let the derisive laughter die down.)

Let me stipulate: a lot of #ff tweets aren’t much use. Some are just a random string of accounts; too many others recommend folks like @aplusk, @cnnbrk and @barackobama – not exactly out-of-the-box discoveries.

But I’m finding more and more #ff tweets that put recommendations into context, saying these people are funny, or inspirational, or smart. And I’m seeing others that use Follow Friday to offer thanks, express love or suggest that people reach out and offer some comfort or attention. And when people use it that way, I’ve found I actually do find interesting new folks to follow.

For all its faults and misuse, Follow Friday is adding a little to Twitter’s growing pool of social capital. So TGIFF… and let’s try to bring that spirit of generosity and gratitude to the other six days of the week.

Paging David Pogue

Paging David Pogue published on 4 Comments on Paging David Pogue

If the planet came with a manual, I have to think it would carry some pretty serious warnings about certain activities:

Offshore petroleum drilling: THIS IS NOT A SUPPORTED FEATURE OF PLANET EARTH. Using this feature may void your warranty and may cause issues including – but not limited to – unavailability of the Plenty-O-Shrimp feature, increased beach viscosity and unexpected dolphin termination. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU BURN ANYTHING OBTAINED THROUGH THE USE OF THIS FEATURE. This can lead to your system running at dangerously high temperatures.

Added: Oh, curse of knowledge, you scamp. When I wrote this, it didn’t occur to me that people might not know David Pogue is the guy behind the absolutely wonderful Missing Manual series, published by O’Reilly Media.

(prosecutor to accused) To quote further from people’s exhibit A, your Twitter feed, “@holdupguy I’m in the getaway vehicle with the money and hostages. Where RU?”

Twitter: To invoke your right to remain silent, use #miranda

Twitter: To invoke your right to remain silent, use #miranda published on 3 Comments on Twitter: To invoke your right to remain silent, use #miranda

From our vaults, another Twitter cartoon that inexplicably failed to make the transition to the new site.

Actually, I’m always tickled to find another one of these – especially if it’s one that I’m particularly happy with. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the defendant’s expression here strikes me as just right. </bragging>

Now, if I was drawing this today, it would probably have the bank robbery in progress, with the head of the gang snarling at one of his underlings, “What have I told you? Don’t check into the bank on FourSquare!” (Update: On second thought, let’s stick with Twitter.)

(updatier) Prescience alert.

Guess the patent application’s a no-go, too

Guess the patent application’s a no-go, too published on 1 Comment on Guess the patent application’s a no-go, too

And just in case you want to see this one being drawn, here’s the high-speed version:

And the full version, complete with running commentary:

Once again, CamTwist, you rock my world.

Place your bladders in the locked and upright position

Place your bladders in the locked and upright position published on 4 Comments on Place your bladders in the locked and upright position

No, really, it makes perfect sense: administer a substance that makes people desperately have to pee. At 30,000 feet above ground. With 120 passengers. And two working toilets.

You just know someone, somewhere, at some airline’s corporate headquarters has to be thinking, “Heyyyy… what if those were pay toilets..?”

Relationship status

Relationship status published on 7 Comments on Relationship status

By now, you’ve probably had the same experience I have of learning about a close friend’s marriage breaking up because their status changed on Facebook. There’s something a little alienating about the fact that a server somewhere in Facebook’s infrastructure had the goods before I had even an inkling of trouble in paradise.

But then, the whole relationship thing in Facebook is fraught. I have to imagine there have been screaming, tear-filled fights because one partner clicked “In a relationship” while the other clicked “Hey, let’s not rush things.” Or, maybe worse for some people, “Sweetheart, what are you putting down for ‘relationship status’?” “I’m glad you asked, because I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.”

No matter which checkbox you’ve been ticking – no, that’s not a smutty double-entendre – have a happy Valentine’s Day.

Seen Alex‘s and my 2010 Valentine to you from Social Signal? Here ya go!

From our vault: condition terminal

From our vault: condition terminal published on 1 Comment on From our vault: condition terminal

Somehow this escaped the Great Site Transfer of 2009!

It was drawn in a godforsaken departure lounge at YVR. So if you happen to be in such a departure lounge right now, reading this, please know: you are not alone.

Kindred spirits

Kindred spirits published on No Comments on Kindred spirits

This cartoon is in support of my ongoing campaign to be allowed to declare our Macs as dependents for tax purposes. Won’t you lend your voice in support?

Freeze! Zoom in! Now enhance. And fart rainbows and turn lead into gold.

Freeze! Zoom in! Now enhance. And fart rainbows and turn lead into gold. published on 3 Comments on Freeze! Zoom in! Now enhance. And fart rainbows and turn lead into gold.

It’s getting to be a joke: the magic things cops can do with computers. “Wait – there’s a reflection in the teakettle! Magnify! Enhance! Now pull a DNA sample from the image! I don’t care, just do it – boost the power if you have to! Crossmatch it with every person named Brent in the continental United States! Damn, this new version of GIMP rocks!”

Annnnd… DING! Three seconds later, up pops the photo of the perpetrator, out go the cops to haul him in and America sleeps a little more soundly tonight.

We’ve grown to accept this, partly because without these little storytelling cheats our streets would be crawling with fictitious master criminals executing horrific, if imaginary, atrocities. And partly because we have a tacit understanding with directors that they’re going to keep us entertained, and there’s nothing pulse-pounding about “Well-elp, might as well take the rest of the week off while this thing renders.”

But maybe what really sells us on the idea of magic high tech down at the precinct is that, deep down, we kind of wish it were true (never mind the bladder-emptying implications for civil liberties and privacy). If we were being stalked by a sociopathic ex-con determined to exact a terrible revenge for our having sentenced him to 30 years in prison, well, dammit, we’d want those nice CSI people to have every tool they needed to stop him in the nick of time.

And maybe, just maybe, that technology could trickle down to, say, the prosumer market. “Computer… draw cartoon!”